An Election Reflection

The upcoming election of 2020 echoes many of the problems from the 2000 Bush v. Gore presidential election.

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Attendees hold up a “Go Vote” sign during a get-out-the-vote rally with former President Barack Obama, gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker and other members of the Illinois Democratic ticket on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Ill. (Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Madeline Hammett, Print Co-Editor-In-Chief

On the eve of the 2020 election, tensions are high, but anticipations are higher. The air is filled with emotions ranging from angry and disappointed to relieved and excited, according to Pew Research. Despite the 20 year difference, the  former Vice President Joe Biden v. President Donald J. Trump ballot and what comes after is eerily showing warning signs of mirroring the outcome of the 2000 George W. Bush v. Al Gore ballot, according to The New York Times

The Daily, a daily news podcast produced by The New York Times, released a segment titled “The Shadow of the 2000 Election” on Oct. 27. It discussed the predicted similarities between the two elections, Florida’s importance, and voter fraud. 

Former Vice President Al Gore, left, and President George W. Bush shake hands at the inauguration as Vice President and President respectively at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, January 20, 2009. (Chuck Kennedy/MCT) (MCT)

In 2000, the drama started at the news stations. NBC, CNN and other well known news stations declared Florida for Gore – essentially guaranteeing him the win. Not much later, these stations withdrew their projection and declared Florida for Bush. This caused Gore to choose to concede, but not much later, Gore chose to recant his concession because of the debate over Florida results. 

Florida was the root of a large portion of this election drama. First of all, Florida had a lot of ballot issues because of a butterfly ballot, according to The New York Times. It was a bit of a confusing layout, and 20,000 of the ballots had votes for two candidates. This led to all of these ballots having to be thrown out and, as can be imagined, those voters were extremely frustrated. 

Voter fraud is another concern for the 2020 election, as it was for the 2000 election. Some examples of voter fraud are giving false information at voter registration, exchanging money for voting and mailing in ballots in the names of deceased people, according to the FBI. Voter fraud was a common accusation in 2000 and is suspected to be another common accusation in 2020. No matter how many accusations are made, it must be proven and investigated to be considered legitimate voter fraud. That said, even if voter fraud occurs, it is likely that it won’t be proven in time for the election results to be impacted. 

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While the concession mistake likely won’t happen again, it is risky that Florida, specifically, will be back and forth between Trump and Biden for a considerable amount of time. It can be expected that recounts will happen several times in states where the numbers are close. In this 2020 election, the likelihood of lawsuits, voter fraud accusations and other issues before an official President is declared is unavoidable. As much as Americans want to have a bit of light shone on the next four years, it is likely that Nov. 3 will not shine that light.  

The brutal reality is that the 2020 election results are hard to predict. With a current President set on voter fraud being unavoidable with the increase in mail in ballots and early voting and a potential President unpredictable on his alternative voting stance, lawsuits and other arguments could go either way. The best way to approach the election tomorrow is with open minds and hearts – and the knowledge that an official electee will likely not be determined for quite a while.